Moten making name as coach
Published: Friday, March 8, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:37 p.m.
Former standout Gator guard Andrew Moten didn't mind that Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton recently passed him for second on UF's all-time scoring list.
“I knew Kenny's dad (Kenny Boynton Sr.) when he played at Bethune-Cookman,” Moten said. “He played with one of my former high school teammates, and we played with a lot of the same people.
“Young Kenny is a good player, a humble kid. I couldn't think of anyone better to pass my scoring mark.”
Three decades removed from his college playing days, Moten is trying to make his mark as a high school basketball coach. Last week, Moten coached West Gadsden to the Class 1A state finals, where he ran into a buzzsaw. West Gadsden fell to Holmes County 59-40 in the Class 1A championship. Holmes County was led by 2013 UF signee Chris Walker, who had 30 points, 15 rebounds and 7 blocked shots in the title game.
“We put three players on him and we still couldn't stop him,” Moten said of the 6-foot-10 Walker. “It hurts. But I feel good that he's going to Florida. I know that they are getting a great player.”
After his professional playing career ended in Brazil, Moten became a basketball referee. But the more he called games, the more he found himself second-guessing coaching decisions.
“That's when I thought to myself ‘Maybe I should give coaching a try,' ” Moten said.
In three seasons at West Gadsden, close to his hometown of Quincy, Moten has led West Gadsden to the state semifinals in 2012 and the state finals this season.
“My main goal is to try to get a state championship,” Moten said. “We've gone to state twice with these guys, but we lose seven seniors, so we're going to be rebuilding next season. Who knows? Maybe down the road I'll be coaching at the college level. We'll see.”
Florida fans remember Moten as one of the “M-and-M Boys”, forming the dynamic backcourt duo with Vernon Maxwell that led the Gators to their first NCAA Tournament appearances in school history. In 1983-84, Moten was named Southeastern Conference freshman of the year. As well as scoring 1,930 points, Moten remains seventh on UF's all-time list in assists (411) and sixth in steals (165).
Following his college career, Moten was drafted in the fourth round by the New Jersey Nets, but never made their roster. Instead, he embarked on a basketball career overseas.
Sun Sports TV college basketball analyst Bill Koss, who has been involved with Gator basketball as a player, assistant coach and television analyst since the 1960s, called Moten “one of his all-time favorites.”
“He had a toughness about him and a will to win,” Koss said. “And he brought it every night. I can remember coming down the stretch (in 1987) and how much it meant for him to win.
“He was a great shooter. He had an uncanny ability to get his shot off because he was, what, six feet tall. But he could get his shot off and had a very good stroke.”
In 1987, as a senior, Moten helped lead the Gators to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. The Gators reached the Sweet 16 before falling to eventual national runner-up Syracuse.
“To me, we had a unique group because most of our guys were Floridians,” Moten said. “We were just a group of young people trying to play together and do things that had never been done before. We set high goals.”
But those three NCAA Tournament games, and two more NCAA Tournament appearances in 1988, wound up being vacated due to sanctions incurred by UF during the end of the Norm Sloan era.
“We made mistakes, but I hope what people could see is that we laid the foundation to start to build the program,” Moten said. “Coach (Lon) Kruger and coach (Billy) Donovan, they've done a great job getting it to an even higher level.”
Moten said he last talked to his former backcourt mate, Maxwell, two years ago. He's trying to get in touch with him so the two can host a summer basketball camp together in Quincy.
“Vernon is a hard guy to get ahold of,” Moten said with a chuckle.
Maxwell went on to a 14-year NBA career after his UF playing days ended. But his post-NBA life has been marred with issues involving domestic violence and failure to pay child support. Maxwell made close to $14 million in his NBA career, but in 2004, after being detained on child support charges, Maxwell told an Alachua County Court judge that he was broke.
“Whenever I talk to Vernon, he's always in good spirits,” Moten said. “Even if he is going through some problems, he is the type of guy who is never going to let you know that. I think that he's managed to get some things straightened out with his life and is on the right track.”
Moten said in his mind, Maxwell is still UF's all-time scoring leader. Maxwell scored 2,450 points in his Florida career but had the last two seasons stricken from the record book due to allegations that he took cash payments from coaches and used cocaine. Ronnie Williams is UF's recognized scoring leader at 2,090 points.
“I'll always know what he did,” Moten said. “The athletic department, they have a job to do and they do a great job over there at the University of Florida. Jeremy (Foley) is a great athletic director. But I know what Vernon did when he was at Florida.”
Moten also was saddened to learn of the passing of one his former teammates, UF center Dwayne Schintzius, who died last April at 43 due to complications from leukemia.
“Everything I had heard from my teammates was that he was doing better,” Moten said. “It was a shock, a blow. It just shows that we're all here for a short time, and you don't know when your time is coming. That's why it's important to make amends with people while you still can.”
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or email@example.com. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.